Proof that you can make a lot of money hosting an illegal file-sharing website: A Lamborghini, a Maserati, a Rolls-Royce, two Cadillacs, and 16 (16!) Mercedes-Benzes, all which stood to be confiscated after four of the seven top brass at Megaupload were arrested yesterday. The U.S. indictment against Kim Dotcom (above and neé Kim Schmitz before founding Megaupload) and his associates for running the site lists those 21 automobiles along with a cache (get it?) of jets skis, motorcycles, TVs, and computers as property to be seized, which CNET pointed last night. But this morning as TechCrunch has wonderful photographic evidence of (via Elliott Kember), the real clincher for how self-assured Megaupload's founders had become is the vanity plates. They include: "CEO," "V," "HACKER," "MAFIA," "STONED," "KIM COM," (play off of King Kong?), "POLICE" (ironic), and "GUILTY" (maybe telling). That of course is all on top of the $175 million Dotcom and his associates are accused of illegally making through Megaupload, according to The New York Times.
It's a kind of playboy lifestyle that makes sense in the context of how Kim Dotcom's arrest went down in New Zealand, where the Megauploaders lived. As The Times intrepidly detailed, "Mr. Dotcom ... retreated into a safe room, and ... was eventually arrested with a firearm close by that the police said appeared to be a shortened shotgun."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.